The Tigers won the first event of the meet on Thursday night as the 200 freestyle relay team set a new NCAA and US. Open record, breaking the mark set a year earlier by the Tigers.
Jakob Andkjaer led off with a time of 18.89 and was followed by Gideon Louw in 18.33 and Kohlton Norys in 18.67. The Tigers trailed Stanford going into the final 50-yard leg by SEC Swimmer of the Year Matt Targett, who blew past the Stanford anchor man with a time of 18.19. AU's time of 1:14.08 was 0.04 faster than the 2007 mark set by Cesar Cielo, Targett, Scott Goodrich and Brian Lundquist at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
The 200 individual medley relay team of Pascal Wollach (45.32), Adam Klein (51.01), Tyler McGill (43.99) and Targett (41.07) swam a time of 3:01.39 to break the old NCAA record by more than one second. Once again Targett entered the water with Auburn trailing and he reeled in the competition.
"Matt said he was hurting really bad, looked across and saw the guy next to him," said Auburn coach Brett Hawke. "He just started digging and clawing his way to the front. Once Matt's in the lead, he's not going to give that one up. I felt very confident, coming to the last turn that he was going to get the job done.
"We wanted to win both relays," Hawke added. "Those guys just stepped up and responded. It was really exciting."
Auburn, the NCAA runnerup last season, is looking for its eighth overall national title and seventh in the past eight years.
Targett had a disappointing result in the 50 freestyle. The pre-race favorite was third in 18.87. Nathan Adrian of Cal won in 18.71. Louw was sixth in 19.06. Andkjaer swam a faster time, 18.96, but was in the consolation final. He tied for first in that race to score eight points.
In the one-meter springboard competition, junior Kelly Marx set the Auburn six-dive record in the event to score 13 points with his total of 386.80.
"He followed the plan perfectly," said Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer. "The one-meter is our weaker event. The goal was to come in compete and not worry about what anybody else was throwing around. He ended up with the school record. A great performance setting us up to go into our stronger events over the next few days."